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Quick medical know-how for teachers

MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2015 10:43 AM

Within a school day, you will likely hear children coughing and blowing their noses as they prepare for the Common Core State Standards test. You'll probably hand out a few Band-Aids per week and have to restock your facial tissue stash just as frequently. Students of all ages have certain medical needs that you will encounter in class. It's important to know how to handle these issues when they occur. Here is some quick medical know-how for teachers:

Make sure everyone has an emergency contact
At the beginning of each school year, teachers are responsible for handing out emergency contact forms to all students. Students must return these documents so you can file them for future reference in case something happens. It is your job to ensure that every student has had his or her parent or guardian fill out the contact sheet. Without it, you won't know who to call if there is an emergency.

Have the basics on hand
It's not necessary to send students to the nurse every time they fall and skin their knees. Keep a stash of Band-Aids, tissues and hand sanitizer in your classroom. The nurse will be thankful he or she is not spending his or her entire day bandaging minor playground wounds, and your students won't miss much of class, as they won't be waiting for the nurse. If, however, a medical need that involves a lot of blood or requires gloves comes up, send the child to the nurse's office. He or she can take proper precautions to address the problem in a more sanitary way than you could in your classroom.

Know your students' special medical needs
Along with the emergency contact form, parents and guardians must also notify the school of any special medical needs that a student may have. This can mean anything from a child requiring an inhaler for asthma to parents sharing what you should do if their child has a seizure at school. You must know this information about every student so you can provide necessary in-the-moment care. Nurses must administer most medications, including inhalers, but you should know the signs that a student might need a prescription in the moment so you can take him or her to the nurse's office. Also, be aware of any schedules that the child must stick to when it comes to medications. It's your job to remind the student to go to the nurse's office where their prescriptions await.